Ahmedabad - Rajkot Expressway snippets
The Rs 1,100-crore Ahmedabad-Rajkot expressway expansion is witnessing one of the largest tree-felling exercises in Gujarat. The 168-km long corridor, starting from Sarkhej in Ahmedabad towards outskirts of Rajkot, namely Bamanbore has an approximate 35-km stretch lined with 2,250 trees — two km is reserved forest stretch.Flora is mainly dominated by plants that flourish in semi arid climatic conditions. This includes kikar, babool, neem, casia variety and eucalyptus. Roadside trees in the state have been declared as protected forests as well. Senior officials at the Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) say, “The replantation of some older trees that are 10 years and above is virtually impossible as the uprooting and relocation costs would be a huge burden on the expenditure of roads and building department (R&BD) and the state forest department.” The official adds that in Phase 1, nearly 1,204 trees that would be felled lie within the 45-km stretch beginning from Sarkhej on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Instead the R&BD department has already deposited money in the forest department coffers to plant at least three trees along the stretch for every tree felled. The first instalment for disposal will be done immediately for not disrupting traffic. The project corridor traverses through eight talukas in two districts. In Ahmedabad district, the talukas that would witness treefelling comprise Sanand, Dholka and Ahmedabad city taluka. In Surendranagar district, trees would be felled in talukas like Wadhwan, Limbdi, Chuda, Sayla, and Chotila. The project corridor traverses through 40 villages and seven urban areas. The corridor which will be 168-km long would be a combination of six-lane and fourlane roads.There would be two separate barricaded lanes for mixed, slow moving and local traffic that are destined towards small intervening towns. This traffic would not be allowed to mix with those on the corridor. The first phase includes tree felling in the 45-km stretch from Sarkhej, of which a major portion has been completed, while that on the second 122-km stretch has begun. The project would be maintained by both the union roads transport and highway department and the state government. The high-speed corridor expects an average speed of 100 km an hour. At the moment the speed on the highway varies from 58 kmph and 61 kmph. The project would maintain road width between 45 metres and 60 metres in width. One of the key features of the corridor will be the special cattle crossing zones at Bhagula, Vadod, Sapar and Bagodara which happen to be one of the main reasons for major accidents on roads.